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Great Britain’s Lucy Garner retained her world junior women’s road race title with a stunning sprint win in Limburg.
The British Cycling Olympic Development Programme rider emulated her victory in Copenhagen last year and with it followed in the footsteps of Beijing Olympic gold medallist Nicole Cooke, who won back-to-back world junior road titles in 2000 and 2001. The triumph comes just six weeks months after Garner became a European road champion in August.
Despite two climbs in each of the five laps – the Bemelerberg and Cauberg hills – Garner stayed in the front group throughout, assited superbly by the four riders around her. By the time the lead group had ascended the Cauberg for the final time just 1.7km stood between the riders and the finish and only a fraction of the field remained ahead.
Elinor Barker, herself a world champion after dominating Tuesday’s time-trial, was the only Great Britain rider with Garner and delivered a perfect lead-out to allow Garner to secure the win.
"I was nervous before the race, as always, but the course really suited me," Garner said.
"We trained a lot in these surroundings to get ready for the hills. Especially the Cauberg, which I could take very well.
"This win is a team effort more than anything. The lead out Elinor gave me was fantastic."
With Great Britain allocated five places for the race, Garner - along with Barker, Emily Kay, Molly Weaver and Jessie Walker took to the line and the pace was high from the off.
Once the riders had completed the opening lap all five were in the peloton with only a handful off riders off the back. However, the tempo began to tell as Kay and Walker fell slightly back, the clock showing them nine seconds down.
The duo lost further ground on the third lap with Molly Weaver also struggling to stay with the peloton as the six climbs tackled began to show. It left Barker and Garner for Great Britain with no attacks off the front sticking and company diminishing with around 30 of the 60-plus field left.
With no one able to get away in the final lap, it was left to a sprint and Garner produced a now trademark effort with no one able to equal her.
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1 GARNER Lucy GBR 2:11:26 +0
2 BRUSTAD Eline Gleditsch NOR " "
3 STRICKER Anna Zita Maria ITA " "